Leaf-blowers send garbage into air, too
I see many letters to the editor about cigarette smoking, and I agree with most of them. What seems strange to me is that I see no bellyaching about these wretched blowing machines that every gardener and cleanup man uses all too frequently. They pollute the air something awful, and the noise is just as bad yet no one seems to give a damn.
Are these workers too lazy to rake up their tailings and haul them away? It seems it's easier and quicker to blow dirt and dust into the surrounding area so everyone gets to breathe the junk.
Robert E. Lansing
Drugs are illegal, so test all the teachers
It is not without increasing dismay that I read letter after letter to the editor against random drug testing for teachers in Hawaii. There is one good reason test for certain substances in our children's teachers. They are illegal! Regardless of what some might consider "recreational use on one's own time," they are still breaking the law.
With the outcry of the lack of respect of children in society, I see that they might be following the lead of those who have been entrusted with their care, guidance and education. Teacher shortage or no, anyone who would disregard the law of the land for their own personal pleasure should be excluded from public education.
What about dangerous drugs that are legal?
One cannot argue for drug testing of teachers unless you define "drugs." Drugs are different, and legality usually has more to do with politics than danger.
"Ice," for example, is very dangerous and therefore illegal. Tobacco, however, is legal, despite being addictive and lethal. Legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceuticals also are often lethal and addictive. Cannabis is illegal, yet I still have not heard anyone clearly explain exactly how responsible use of cannabis is dangerous, especially when you remove the "smoking" element.
Some people are quick to apply ice solutions to cannabis problems, yet when we do this we send out incorrect information to our youth and lose credibility when dealing with the truly dangerous substances -- like ice.
When you say we must test for drugs, then I hope you include alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs and caffeine, because these are all equally if not more dangerous than cannabis.
Drug testing does not solve the problem. The sooner we stop lumping ice and cannabis users together, the sooner we will have a real chance in the real war on drugs -- the war on ice. Like the bumper sticker says, "Thanks to Green Harvest, My State's on Ice."
Hawaii's outage not much to whine about
For all you whiners and complainers who were so negatively vocal toward Hawaiian Electric Co. for taking 12 hours to restore our electricity after an earthquake, think about those folks in Washington and Oregon, hundreds of thousands of them, being without electricity after a windstorm last week! We have it good here in Hawaii, and I personally think HECO did the right thing and did it well.
We have it pretty darn good here -- stop whining about every little thing!
Bill silences cell phones, not users
In a Sunday letter
, Ben Lowenthal complains of the cell phone restrictions in Bill 71. He is not the first in these pages to do so. He and the others need to look more carefully at the bill in question.
The bill does not limit the use of cell phones by riders, as he states. What it limits is the loud and annoying ring tones, requiring instead that phones be set on vibrate while the rider is on the bus. This in no way "punishes" the riders. It also bans the use of the phone as a walkie-talkie. Once again no infringement, since the rider can just as easily use the phone as it was originally intended to be used.
It's nice that Lowenthal wants to stand up for the rights of riders, but he should wait for an actual attack on those rights before he mounts his defense.
Do homeowners need a California solution?
My blood began to slowly boil as the TV newscaster announced that property taxes will go up again this year by an average of about 11 percent (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 16
). This increase follows last year's increase of 20-some-odd percent.
How property value is assessed is being blamed for the increase. However, the bottom line is that city officials are acting irresponsibly in not preventing such large tax increases. I say we need a California-style "Proposition 13" to keep our city government in check. Proposition 13 has not necessarily been good for California and has been blamed for damage to public services such as schools and firefighters. However, we have little choice but to fight back. More than 35 percent in increases in two years, and who knows how much more next year!
Retirees on fixed incomes suffer the most, with some being priced out of their homes. To be priced out of your home after years paying off your mortgage is criminal. I say we need a Proposition 13-like bill to protect ourselves from our government.
Whitlow W.L. Au
Rail won't benefit most commuters
It is almost a certainty that the people in favor of rail all live in the direction of the rail line. When they complain about delays in traffic and want a better quality of life, a bigger and cheaper home out there, they are asking all other people not in the rail direction, that will still have their delays, lost time and no quality of life, to pay for an expensive option for others to enjoy.
No one has asked, or told, what the traffic conditions will be on the existing roads when construction starts and lasts for 20 years. It can only be worse than it is now for 20 years.
It is not a mass transit, but a select corridor transit and certainly not a futuristic one.
Watch the cars idle while you cruise above
Rail transit will make it real convenient to get from one place to the next. Rail runs on its own elevated right of way, separated from the traffic congestion at street level. It would run from the University of Hawaii-Manoa to Kapolei, with 30 stops.
I've heard criticism that rail won't do much for traffic relief. But it will for you, if you choose to take rail instead of your car. Why would anyone want to sit for hours in traffic, angry, frustrated and exasperated?
I've also heard that the train won't travel as fast as a car can travel. But if you're crawling in bumper-to-bumper traffic, a train going by above you at 30 mph sure looks appealing.
You'll be cruising along on the rail while others will be stuck in gridlock in their cars below and wondering why they didn't take the train instead.